School Officials Introduce Initial Reopening Plans

Photo courtesy LCUSD
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette provided a photo showing how a classroom may look in the coming school year, in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

The La Cañada Unified School District’s plan to reopen schools is becoming clearer despite the uncertainty that lies ahead because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette previewed plans from the reopening committee — consisting of district board members, staff members, educators and parents — and addressed concerns from stakeholders during a virtual LCUSD Governing Board meeting on Tuesday.
More details of the committee’s plans will be presented at a meeting on July 14 so that the board can approve them. Sinnette preferred to show a plan early to allow parents and personnel to better prepare for the 2020-21 school year scheduled to begin on Aug. 17.
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Flintridge Prep Introduces New Mascot: the Wolves

The times are changing, and so is the mascot at Flintridge Preparatory School.
A school community-wide email sent by Prep Headmaster Peter Bachmann announced that the new mascot, the Wolves, will replace the Rebels starting July 1.
The decision to change mascots was made as a board resolution in January, and was the culmination of what the email said were “many meaningful and spirited discussions across campus over several years.” The process included the appointment of a multi-constituency mascot committee and a board oversight committee.
“We have recognized the controversial nature of our former mascot and have sought an adequate solution for years,” said Nicole Trevor, Prep’s director of communications. “It is worth noting that in 2014, the school also considered changing the mascot completely, but ultimately the school decided to rebrand instead.”
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Morikawa Eager to Get Pro Sports Back on Course

Photo courtesy PGA Tour
Golf professional Collin Morikawa, who graduated from La Cañada High School in 2015, plans on competing in the PGA Tour’s first tournament since March, which is scheduled for June 11.

With most of the country following stay-at-home ordinances for more than two months, people are looking for some semblance of normalcy and professional golfer Collin Morikawa is ready to deliver it.
The PGA Tour is scheduled to restart its season with the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 11, and the La Cañada High School graduate will be one of more than 120 golfers to compete in the tournament.
“I’ll be there at Colonial [Country Club],” said Morikawa, who was a member of the LCHS class of 2015. “We have the opportunity to be one of the first [athletes] back.”
Professional golfers were assured that PGA Tour officials would adhere to strict health guidelines such as having no fans present and providing extra space for athletes and caddies when they travel.
“Things to keep in mind as we go through all of this is it’s really a layered approach that we’ve taken, and the heart of it is social distancing,” Tour Senior Vice President and Chief of Operations Tyler Dennis recently told reporters in a conference call. “ … We’re excited about how the PGA Tour can play a role here in the world’s return, if you will, enjoying things we love and doing so in a responsible manner.”
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Multari Leaves LCUSD Board After Nearly Nine Years

Ellen Multari

Governing board members of the La Cañada Unified School District paid tribute to their vice president during the most recent meeting, Ellen Multari’s last before her resignation.
Multari resigned May 20 because she will no longer be a resident of the district, Superintendent Wendy Sinnette explained during the recent virtual meeting. Multari and her family will be moving to the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Unable to wish her goodbye in person due to the countywide “Safer at Home” order, Multari’s fellow board members played a brief video tribute they had made, which featured well-wishes from current and former members. They also announced that they were gifting her a telescope to send her off.
Sinnette has worked with Multari, a graduate of Stanford University who moved to LCF in 2007, since the latter was elected to the board in November 2011— just a few months after Sinnette became superintendent.
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Teachers Salute LCHS Class of 2020

Photo by Erin Rodick / Outlook Valley Sun

La Cañada High School senior Matthew Baker (center) was among class of 2020 members honored by teachers Susan Moore, Mike Kauffman and Mark Ewoldwen as they picked up their caps and gowns last week. Faculty, staff and teachers created posters with words of encouragement and congratulations as the kids and parents created a car line to pick up the ceremonial outfits. On Wednesday, June 3, pending the county’s approval, a car parade for Spartan graduates will start in the Flintridge Prep parking lot and end at the LCHS parking lot.

District Fields Complaints About Palm Crest Project

Illustration courtesy LPA
A rendering of modernization plans for Palm Crest Elementary School shows the proposed two-story building that some neighbors have criticized.

The governing board of the La Cañada Unified School District has directed the designers of a Palm Crest Elementary modernization project to investigate making changes to the plan after its proposed two-story building attracted criticism from nearby residents.
The $31.7 million project is aimed at remodeling Palm Crest by building a new parking lot, increasing playground areas, modernizing classrooms and replacing some of the school’s portable buildings with the new two-story structure.
However, many residents on nearby Solliden Lane expressed concern that the building would intrude on their privacy and stick out over fences and trees. Some also believed that the design’s color palette clashed with the look of the neighborhood.
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LCUSD Seeks to Celebrate Seniors Despite School Closures

Though cautioning that the future remains unknown, the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board said recently it is planning a car parade on Wednesday, June 3, to celebrate graduating seniors from La Cañada High School in the midst of unprecedented pandemic measures.
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said the district has been working with Los Angeles County to determine if it can hold the parade, which is looking likely to be approved. After the district initially decided the celebration could not take place under county coronavirus health orders, some of the “Safer at Home” guidelines were relaxed, and the board learned it could submit an event plan to Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who would then relay it to the county Department of Public Health for consideration.
During the school board’s virtual meeting on May 19, Sinnette emphasized that, while she is hopeful, the event will not be held without approval from the county. The celebration is not a replacement for the seniors’ postponed graduation at Spartan Stadium. LCHS Principal Jim Cartnal said he has asked families to hold July 31, Nov. 24 and Dec. 22 as potential, in-person graduation dates.
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Local Basketball Star Recognized as State Divisional Player of Year

Outlook Photo
Local resident Andre Henry was named the Cal-Hi Sports Division II player of the year after leading St. Francis to a CIF Southern Regional basketball championship.

The boys’ basketball season came to an end two months ago but St. Francis High School standout Andre Henry is still garnering accolades from his impressive senior campaign.
The La Cañada Flintridge resident, who earned All-CIF Division 2 first-team honors, was recently named the state’s Division II player of the year by Cal-Hi Sports, an online publication that covers high school athletics in California.
“When you have him on your team, it makes your heart rate go down a bit,” Golden Knights head coach Todd Wolfson praised after clinching the CIF State Southern Regional championship with a 53-44 victory over Eastvale Roosevelt on March 17. “I trust him. He’s been here four years and built this thing with us.”
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LCUSD Names Saks as High School Athletic Director

Carrie Saks

The La Cañada Unified School District has selected Carrie Saks as La Cañada High School 7-12 athletic director for the 2020-21 school year, and the hiring was approved last week by the district’s Governing Board, the school said in a statement.
Saks, who will assume the position at LCHS in late summer of 2020, has five years of experience teaching in public education. She started her career in the Westminster and Santa Monica/Malibu school districts and transitioned to LCUSD in 2014-15. Saks taught reading intervention at La Cañada Elementary School, and then joined the boys and girls volleyball coaching staff at LCHS 7/8 that same year. Her service and dedication to the district was honored in 2017 when Saks received the LCHS 7/8 PTA Founders’ Day Award. In 2016, she took on the role of LCHS 7/8 athletic director.
As part of her new position, Saks will oversee athletics for the entire campus, grades 7-12.
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FSHA Holds Special ‘Time Capsule College Parade’

Flintridge Sacred Heart’s seniors had a twist added to the school’s traditional car decorating and Time Capsule Picnic events when the Alumnae Association helped host a Time Capsule College Parade in the social distancing era of COVID-19. Students showed their college spirit by decorating their cars, and they also received their alumnae gift bag, graduation dress, cap and gown during a parade of automobiles which ran between FSHA’s two parking lots. The celebration was “a great collaboration of many of the departments at the school, including Alumnae Relations, Facilities and Security, and High School Administration,” said Carmella Grahn, FSHA’s director of Advancement and Planning, who teamed with Breeana Koemans, the director of Alumnae Relations & Special Events.
“We wanted to celebrate the seniors,” said Grahn, noting that students were required to stay in their decorated cars while school personnel put each girls’ pick-up items in the auto’s trunk. “There were a lot of tears of joy, laughing…just an outpouring of emotions. It was really special; there was a lot of love. The students didn’t want to leave.”
FSHA President Sister Carolyn McCormack and Principal Sister Celeste Botello were joined by approximately 50 other school employees and teachers to honor the graduating seniors. There were also surprise appearances by first responders from the local Fire Department and Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s station.